Updated 09/17/2012 06:59 AM
Crystal Bar serves last meals
Amsterdam residents gathered to get one last taste of a city landmark. As our Maria Valvanis explains, the Crystal Bar will be officially closing Monday morning.
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AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- "I don't think anyone could replace the Crystal Bar," said long-time employee David McConville.
Owner Tony Centi said, "It's like loosing a family member."
The third-generation, family owned Amsterdam landmark will soon be no more. Owner Tony Centi has decided to close the restaurant Monday after a lengthy fight to overcome financial problems.
"I guess I do feel a little sad, but we'll get over it, and things will be fine," he said.
Centi's grandfather opened the restaurant in the early 1940s, and it quickly became a place people thought of as a second home.
"It's like a big family, everyone knows everyone knows everyone, it's like 'Cheers,'" said McConville.
Theresa Centi, Tony's mother and past owner, said "We're invested in this place, a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of love."
A lot of those memories include the great company, tasty wings, and of course
"The pizza, the square pizza, come on, Marone!" Said customer, Joseph Ruocco.
Tommy Kowalski said, "I mean there's other bars and stuff but it's not the same, we've been coming here forever."
And while many loyal customers and employees have been along for the ride since the beginning, newbies say they'll miss it all the same.
"It's a place where you felt like you belonged, Tony was great, made you feel like you were part of the Crystal Bar gang, part of the family," said Amy Walag.
And though customers will be walking out these doors for the last time, they say all the memories will last them a life time.
"A lot of people are mad at me because they met their spouses here, 39 years ago yesterday, I was married to the girl I met here," said Centi.
Long-time customer Bob Maxwell said, "I remember Tony, as a little child, I was 13, and his father, Papa- Tony, grandpa Tony, with the big walrus mustache, sat his butt down on the bar and was so excited to show everybody his grandson."
Centi says saying goodbye will not be easy, but words his father left with him will help him through.
"No matter what happens, God is first in your life, then your children, this place of business here is floor, walls, and a building, that's all it is."
Centi added, "Thanks for the memories."